How to saddle up a horse

How to saddle up a horse is always a daunting task if it's your first time.

You don't  want to hurt the horse and you are anxious about getting it right, along with other people watching you.

How to saddle up - let's begin!

Firstly tie the horse up in the stable to tack up and put the bridle on.

Once the bridle is on, extend the head collar so it will fit over the bridle in order to tie the horse up again.

Standing to the near side of the horse (the side you get on), place the numnah onto the horse’s withers.

Next place the saddle on top of the numnah, with the girth lying flat over the saddle.

Gently slide the saddle and numnah back until it rests on the back.

The numnah will have a loop on either side so you need to lift up the saddle flaps and slide the loop through the first girth strap, on either side.

If the saddle has buckle guards, insert the strap into the loop, then put the strap back into the buckle guard on either side.

The girth needs to be hanging on the off side (right hand side of the horse).

Make sure the girth is not twisted and take note of what hole it is on and which of the girth straps are being used.

Some people use the first two, while others miss out the middle one, or use the last two straps.

I had a saddle fitter out, to check the saddle I was using on my horse.

She told me, my saddle was a good fit.

However, she pointed out that there was a small lump by his shoulder that could have been there before I bought him.

She recommended I use the last two girth straps to protect the shoulder area.

If the saddle is fitting perfectly I generally use the first and last girth straps.

Don’t forget to use the same straps on both sides for a comfortable fit.

When you fasten the girth, take your time and tighten the girth one hole at a time.

Before you mount the horse, take hold of a front leg stretching it forward to smooth out any wrinkles or pinching of the girth.

Repeat this with the other front leg.

That's it, you now know how to saddle up a horse!

Horse Riding For Beginners


There are many types of numnahs available that provide the horse with more comfort, and for the competition horse, certain numnahs can reduce impact when jumping.

Using a numnah on a cold backed horse will make saddling more acceptable.

A numnah should not be used to protect the horse from a saddle that does not fit him or is badly designed.

Numnahs are available in sheepskin, cotton, synthetic and wool.

A numnah is designed to follow the shape of the saddle.


Slightly different in shape from the numnah, but performing the same function.

When you have finished riding you should remove the saddle cloth from the saddle, either hang it up or rest it on top of the saddle to air out.

Numnahs are available in all shapes and sizes, such as pony, cob and horse.

The numnah should be well up into the gullet of the saddle so not to press down on the spine or withers.

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Cleaning the saddle

Cleaning the bridle – Taking the bridle apart – Putting the bridle back together – Oiling the bridle